The World's Finest Presents

Stan Berkowitz on the League's Second Season
Interview Conducted by Stu

Stan Berkowitz has written for a plethora of the most popular animated shows ever over the past decade - including Spider-Man, Batman, Superman and many more. The World's Finest recently spoke to Stan about his most difficult task yet - the Justice League. Join us as we catch up with Stan as he talks about his work on the League.

June 20th, 2006

What was your original reaction to learning that you would be working on a Justice League cartoon?

I was delighted. I was one of the many kids who went nuts for the original Starro comic back in 1960, and from then on, the Justice League of America was my favorite comic. Beyond that, I was looking forward to writing for a whole new spectrum of heroes and villains.

You've previously mentioned that you find writing three part stories is nine times harder than writing a single episode. Where do two part stories fit into this? Do you enjoy the luxury of having more time, or did you consider it a burden to fill in all that screen time?

Three-parters tend to slow down in the middle, and it's very hard to prevent that from happening. But two-parters have never felt like a burden to me; it's always been a pleasure to have the extra time for character moments and to expand the action.

While writing "Tabula Rasa" did you already have Amazo's return (JLU's "The Return") in mind?

No. When we started Season Two of Justice League, we had no idea that there would eventually be a JL Unlimited. We always hope to do more episodes, but there is seldom any certainty.

The ending to part one of "Only a Dream" was possibly one of the best cliffhangers in all of Justice League. Did you intend for the episode to be this dark (the ending, the murder of Dr. Destiny's wife) or did it just play out that way?

Everyone knew at the time that it was a dark, creepy cliffhanger, and we were all pleased with the way it turned out.

Many fans loved the interaction between the two pyromaniacs of the DCAU, Volcana and Firefly ("Only a Dream", Part 1). Was their meeting something you wanted to do?

It wasn't something I'd been itching to do for years, if that's what you mean, but once we got into it, we found that their interaction was loads of fun - even if it did make the censors a little nervous.

The aftershock that "A Better World" gave to Justice League Unlimited is astounding. Did you ever expect or imagine the effects this episode would have on future seasons of the show?

It never occurred to me, though I am pleased. The fun of writing for the Justice Lords was that they were a little more flawed than the League, and thus a little more human. Easier to relate to, too. If an average person were given super-powers, he would be more likely to turn out like a Justice Lord, than like a Leaguer -- in my opinion.

"A Better World" was the first animated appearance of Doomsday. What were your thoughts on this character and why introduce him now?

I thought it was a good idea to have a creature as iconic as Doomsday serve as punching bag for Alternate Superman; it made Alt.Superman look especially threatening.

"The Secret Society" ranks high on fans lists, partially due to the simply awesome storyline and also because of the inclusion of Clayface. How did the story come about and what made you decide on that specific roster of villains to form the new group?

Bruce and Rich wanted to do a Secret Society story, and then everyone sat down and talked for a long time about which villains to include. A lot of our decision-making had to with choosing villains whose powers were comparable to those of the different members of the League. Like all our stuff, it was very much a group effort.

First Clayface and now The Joker-you're responsible for bringing two of Batman's biggest foes into the Justice League fold! Did you know that this would be The Joker's last DCAU appearance while writing it?

Had no idea. And I wouldn't be so sure this will be the Joker's last appearance. He's been a vegetable before. Dead, too. And he always managed to come back.

Are there any stories related to the Batman/Superman/Batman Beyond series that you would've liked to tell in Justice League but never got the opportunity to?

Truth to tell, I think all those story-lines were wrapped up so neatly by the end that there are no more stories to tell. But of course, there will always be.

The Royal Flush Gang in "Wild Card" featured the entire voice cast of Teen Titans filling the parts of the gang members. Did you have their voices in mind while writing the dialogue, or were the voices decided after-the-fact?

As I recall, we knew from the start. It's called stunt casting, but it wasn't much of a gamble; those actors were (and are) some of the hottest names in the voice acting biz.

This may come across as an odd question, but was it a deliberate decision not to have The Joker perform his usual maniacal laughter?

Yes it was. Bruce wanted him more somber; it made the old fellow a lot scarier. Mark Hamill was a little disappointed at the recording session, as I recall, but the end product justified the decision.
 

The World’s Finest would like to thank Stan Berkowitz for his participation in this Q & A.

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